Thursday, 16 February 2012

Basements

Something that I've noticed over the past couple of years while travelling the blogosphere is that the "Gamers in the Basement" image seems to be very prevalent, particularly in the US and Canada.

It's not something that's in my personal history but that's probably because I'm in the UK where basements are not a standard feature of most houses, unless you are lucky enough to be able to afford a very old property indeed.

So, when thinking of my early gaming experiences, I most often remember tables in dining rooms, bedrooms, a living room or two - but never a basement.

So, today's question - where did you used to game in the early days and where do you game now? And let me know if you're a US or UK gamer - I suspect I can guess most of the answers but there's always room for a surprise or two.

26 comments:

  1. Old Days: either in the dining room or bedroom;
    Now: on-line, or in the basement of a pub in central London. I am from the UK.

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  2. Back in the day, we usually played at my mate Tim's house, around his large and generally-unused dining room table. Sometimes we'd play in a living room or bedroom though, but the vast majority of games were played at Tim's table.

    I have a different group now, most of whom are family men, so we tend to take over the family tables there too.

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  3. I've done plenty of time in basements, though these days I can usually swing a living room. I'm from Canada.

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  4. US Gamer - I first started gaming in the Navy, and we played around a large table in the rec room on base. These days it's usually around the table in the conference room of my office on the weekends. In between it had mostly been in living rooms or the dining room of myself or whoever's house we were playing at.

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  5. US, here, and it's basements all the way. In fact, our Thursday night Pathfinder games are currently being played in my friend's basement in the home he inherited from his grandparents. We're all in our 30s and 40s, but we might as well be teenagers again.

    My own home is a small NYC apartment - no basement - so gaming space is a serious challenge.

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  6. Here in Michigan, we usually played RPG's in the living room or dining room. Wargames were played on basements floors or pool tables, however, because they need extra space.

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  7. US gamer here. Back in the day, we usually played around a dining room table or a bedroom, depending on the time of day/who we wanted overhearing us (late nights around the dining room table, afternoons in the bedroom for more privacy). But then none of my friends nor I had a nicely done basement in our homes.

    If we'd had one of those basements with carpeting, furniture, and whatnot, rather than bare concrete and spider webs, we might have used the basement to game.

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  8. United States
    Living room, dining room and bedroom. I only ever gamed in a basement once.

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  9. US here. Very interesting observation about the UK lack-o-basements. I think basement RPG playing was prevalent because basements = underground dungeon-like atmosphere. (And most basements were half or fully "finished, and more like a rec room anyway.)

    In Ye Olden Dayes = Played in a garage that had been converted to a gameroom. Played on the poker table near a bar fridge. Good times those. During the summer, our group moved to an enclosed screened-in porch/balcony. Great for midnight games.

    Nowadays = Wherever I can set up the card table. (Rolling dice on the good dining table is a death sentence from The Mizzus.)

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  10. I've gamed in bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, attics, basements, and now game stores! Wow, it's weird to actually think about all the places I've gamed. Next, I want to do it outside...oh wait. This whole list sounds sort of...risque. Taken out of context, swap out a word, and it could seem quite bad. ;-)

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  11. Oh, sorry, didn't specify that I'm from the US (New Jersey representin'!)

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  12. Formative: either school classrooms (the Head of English was sympathetic to our plight) or the upstairs bar of a local pub (once we'd hit the sixth form and pooled together with a wargames club to hire it).

    Current: either my (open-plan) living room or my mate Ben's (furnished) attic.

    Origins: British as a bilious lord.

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  13. My first ever game was in fact in a basement, but few games after that were there. We played pretty much everywhere - wherever we happened to be. I distinctly remember playing at Great America (an amusement park), using coin flips to represent dice rolls. That being said, most of the time was around the coffee table in my friend Jeff's living room. Later, when in college, i mostly remember playing around dining room tables.

    When i first started playing with my sons, we also played at the dining room table, but now we've moved upstairs to the youngest's bedroom (which of course has gaming tables but no bed... he's a little odd).

    I live in Chicago now, and have never lived more than a couple of hundred miles from here.

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  14. enclosed screened-in porch/balcony. Great for midnight games

    I forgot about the screen porch! We had some great times out there.

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  15. I'm sure I did, but I remember a lot of bedroom or dining room table action at my house, and definitely the rec room and basements of my friends.

    We'd also play in the family camper or tent or tent trailers in the summer.

    Now, it's a friend's dedicated (if somewhat poorly heated for a Canadian winter...) gaming room or the DM's warm and cosy finished basement.

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  16. In southern California - earthquake country - basements are very rare. We almost always played around the dining table.

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  17. I grew up in upstate New York and we played (you guessed it) in the basement. Our basement was very 1970s suburban America: wood paneling, drop ceiling, shag carpeting, ping pong table, air hockey table, dart board, a very fancy poker/bridge table* which we used to game, television and couches, and a bar (fully stocked).

    *the top came off and inside was a green felt-lined sunken interior, holders for poker chips and cocktails, and plenty of room for game books, screens etc. It made rolling dice efficient because you really had to try hard to make them bounce over the sunken lip and onto the floor.

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  18. We also had a screen-lined porch out to the backyard from the basement but we didn't game out there. That's where we hid our beers and snuck drags off of cigarettes then blamed gramdma for the smoke smell and empty beer cans. :)

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  19. I also grew up in upstate New York and we played in my parent's basement, my bedroom, or at my parent's dining room table, depending on what was going on at the house at the time at my house. My friend Lance had a couple of cabins that used to be camps in the 1940's on his parent's property, and a small barn, we played in those buildings during the summers or in his house either in the living room or dining room in colder weather. My friend Tim had just his bedroom to play in, so we usually played elsewhere despite the fact that he usually DMed, mostly at Lance's house. When I played D&D with my buddy Darryl, we played either in one of the bedrooms at his dad's house, at the kitchen table or once in a while in the living room. We also played D&D at school, in the cafeteria at lunch time and in the library during study halls. I even played D&D occasionally on the school bus, but that was tough, so mostly we just talked about D&D on the bus. So, basements, my parent's basement saw D&D action, Lance's basement was too old, the ceiling was too low and it was dark and had a partially dirt floor, not a great basement to hang out in- that house was built in the mid- 1800s. Darryl's dad, at the time, lived in a mobile home, and so didn't have a basement. Darryl's mom and step-dad lived in a house without a basement, but we rarely, if ever played D&D there anyway. Tim's mom and step-dad lived in a mobile home, so no basement, his dad lived in a house without a basement.

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  20. I am from Canada- basements always. I mean I have played at a kitchen table once in a while but my preference is always for the basement. The simple reason is that there are usually non gamers home wherever I play so playing deep in the basement gives us alot more privacy.

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  21. From the US...
    I usually played D&D with my brother in our bedroom. The collapsible card table we used still brings back memories! We also played at the kitchen table (if nobody else was around).

    We had a basement, but because it was unfinished, we never used it for D&D. We did play in the car once on a family trip; don't know how my mom dealt with that...

    Now when I play D&D with my daughters, we use my bedroom because my wife's usually watching TV at that point in the evening.

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  22. As kids back in the 80s we usually played in someone's dining room, but we also played in the attic of our house. It was a big ol' house with a creepy attic that really set a cool vibe. Like most old attics it was uninsulated so it was really only an option from April to September in the Northeastern U.S. On hot sunny days, we'd have to wait til a few hours after sunset for it too cool off enough to play. And on days that it rained, the rain pounding on that roof added a pretty cool sense of drama; It felt like a monsoon was coming down. Very nice atmosphere up there.

    Now: 50% basement, 50% living room at my bachelor-friend's house.

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  23. The house of our high-school era DM had a tiny den that was maybe 8x 11 feet. We'd cram a dozen teens in there to game. At my house, we'd be in the very musty basement with cheap wood paneling, fluorescent lights, and a styrofoam drop ceiling. In both places, we just sat on the floor. We had no money for minis, so a table was quite unnecessary. This was in the US.

    Today, we game at oir dining room table or in a friend's basement. The latter is actually set up as a gaming area with two long tables, sound system, racks of books and minis, etc.

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  24. First gaming group (early to mid 90's): living room. After that? Mostly in similar settings.

    The funny part is that I never tabletopped in a basement until I moved into a basement room.

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  25. Whoops, sorry. I was and am in the US. But I also lived on the east coast where basements are a little less common in standard houses due to the water table. Now I'm out in Colorado where basements are less of a problem.

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  26. Rural redneck. pigs, cattle, horse, etc. We had a double wide out in the sticks, so no basement. We just played in the dining room on the big oak table we had. Everyone liked to lean back in mom's new chairs, so she'd swoop in when she heard a creak, do a quick lap around the table smacking every offender (who wasn't quick enough to drop all four on the floor before she rounded the corner) up the back of the head three stooges style.

    The whole basement association is probably due to basements commonly being finished and used as family rec rooms, (or bedrooms for sullen teenagers when they get to be that age)

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